I’m sure any struggling band has horror stories of awful gigs when they were coming up, but the Ain’t Rights have it in the literal sense in Green Room. Jeremy Saulnier’s dark and twisted little thriller that puts this punk rock band in quite a precarious situation. The quintet includes bassist Pat (Anton Yelchin) and guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat) and they are rather aimlessly traveling the Pacific Northwest in their beat up van going from depressing gig to another.
Their latest performance brings them to a remote location outside Portland (the visuals of Oregon are sumptuous before the pic gets quite claustrophobic) and it turns out to be a scuzzy bar filled with Neo Nazis. Despite their fear, the band plays on and is almost on their way to their next adventure when they witness a murder inside the green room. The proprietors of the establishment are not eager to let them leave and the band finds themselves trapped along with another witness (Imogen Poots). It turns out the place is run by group leader Darcy (Patrick Stewart). He calls the shots as to the future of the band in a long night filled with ain’t right carnage, box cutters, and guard dogs that respond to German commands.
Green Room is a horror movie in which the violence isn’t meant to provoke laughs. Some of the gory outbursts are truly squirm inducing and characters are dispensed of in a way that provides unpredictability. Stewart, in particular, seems to relish this role in which he has no likable character traits whatsoever. The story doesn’t exactly cover any new ground or add new dimensions to the genre, but it’s a straightforward bloody bit of well-crafted mayhem that should please enthusiasts.
*** (out of four)